Most of us, if we had to think about it, have a story of forgiveness. Some are heartwarming, and some…don’t put us in the best light.
My story is an age-old one — a broken friendship. To put it simply: this friend let me down, and I let them down in return. They did something hurtful, so I abandoned the friendship. I could blame it on the fact that I was standing up for another friend or that we were young and immature. However you spin it, a friendship was lost and bitterness took its place.
A year or two passed, and I didn’t seek a resolution. As usual when it comes to these things, the hurt remained. The only thing that changed in the years following was my perspective on the relationship. One day it hit me: it wasn’t her apology that I needed in order to move on — it was her forgiveness.
I spent so long focusing on the wrongs she had committed and the pain she had inflicted, that I lost sight of my role in the relationship ending. As someone who has been given second chances and clean slates time and again, I failed to offer the same to her. I failed. And it was in recognizing that truth that I was able to take the step I needed in order to move on. I reached out, we met up, and I recounted where things had gone wrong. Most importantly, I apologized. It didn’t fix our friendship, it didn’t even totally close the wound. Some anger lingered, sadness too. Truthfully, forgiveness wasn’t the neat bow and tidy ending that I’d hoped it would be. But that act of asking for it set me on a path forward. And I hope it did the same for her.
Forgiveness is our way up, out, and through difficult times. It doesn’t mean forgetting about past hurts, but it does mean putting in the work to heal, be better, and continue growing despite them.
Join us this May at Grotto as we share stories of forgiveness. We’ll be sharing insights from both the perspective of the forgiven and the forgiver. We’ll be talking about reconciliation and atonement — on a personal level and a societal level. What does it mean that we are forgiven? How do we live out forgiveness in our daily lives? Let’s explore these questions together this month.